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A remote Chilean naval base found during an Antarctica tour

Epic Antarctica: Crossing the 7th Continent

New Zealand - Argentina - Example 34 Day Cruise aboard Douglas Mawson
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Embark on an unparalleled 34-day expedition across the vast southern seas from Dunedin, New Zealand to Ushuaia aboard the Douglas Mawson ship on the Epic Antarctica: Crossing the 7th Continent Expedition Cruise. This journey is perfect for pioneers, history buffs, and adventure enthusiasts, and it channels the spirit of legendary explorers like Scott, Ross, Amundsen, and Shackleton. Set sail beyond the Antarctic Circle and discover the mysteries of the Ross Sea. Explore the rugged beauty of the Peninsula and behold breathtaking sights along the way. This expedition offers a rare and extraordinary opportunity to immerse yourself in the pristine wilderness of Antarctica, promising an adventure of a lifetime.
Coastal beauty of DunedinCoastal beauty of DunedinLake and mountains in Milford Sound, South Island, New ZealandRoss Sea AntarcticaTouring the icy water of Antarctica on an expedition cruiseBlue skies and ice during Antarctic cruiseShot of Paradise Harbor, complete with many ice formations in the water.Kayakers in Paradise BayA remote Chilean naval base found during an Antarctica tour
Highlights
  • Unparalleled expedition across southern seas
  • Follow in footsteps of legendary explorers like Scott, Ross, Amundsen, and Shackleton
  • Sail beyond Antarctic Circle to uncover mysteries of Ross Sea
  • Explore the rugged beauty of the Peninsula
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Dunedin

  • 1 Dinner
Upon arrival in Dunedin, a representative will assist in transferring you and your fellow expeditioners to the designated pre-voyage hotel. If you are already in Dunedin, please proceed directly to your hotel. Later in the afternoon, visit the hospitality desk in the lobby to collect luggage tags. Ensure your name and ship cabin number are clearly labeled on the tags. The team will provide details regarding your embarkation day, address any queries, and offer information on dining options and last-minute purchases.

In the evening, join your fellow expeditioners for a Welcome Reception and Pre-Embarkation Briefing, where light refreshments will be served. Following the briefing, feel free to explore New Zealand's southernmost city. You may opt to dine at one of Dunedin's esteemed restaurants or take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Otago harbor.

Assigned accommodation: To be advised

Day 2: Dunedin | Embark

In the morning, enjoy breakfast and complete the check-out process. Ensure your cabin luggage is equipped with cabin tags clearly marked with your name and cabin number. By 11:00 am, deliver your cabin luggage to the hotel reception either before or during check-out. Your luggage will be stored and transferred directly to the port for clearance, ready to be placed in your cabin before your arrival on board. Keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.
The morning is yours to explore Dunedin at your leisure.

Once aboard, settle into your cabin, meticulously designed for your comfort. This luxurious vessel awaits your exploration! Cast off and begin the voyage, join your expedition team on deck before indulging in a delightful dinner, raising a toast to the journey ahead.

Day 3: At Sea

On an expedition such as this, the journey is as significant as the destination. Sea days are a wonderful opportunity to relax, meet your fellow travellers and learn about the history, environment and local wildlife in this fascinating corner of the globe.   

As you acclimatise to life on board, your expedition team is available to answer any questions you may have and offer pro-tips on photography and birdwatching. With decades of collective experience in the region, they love to share their expertise and enthusiasm with fellow travellers. Join them in the lecture room for entertaining talks and presentations to enrich your understanding of the wildlife, landscapes and historic sites travelers hope to encounter. 

You may like to pamper yourself with a sauna, a visit to the Wellness Centre, or work out at the onboard gym. While away the hours spotting seabirds on deck, curl up with a book in well-equipped polar library, or chat with your fellow expeditioners at the bar.

Day 4-6: New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands

First visited by Māori navigators centuries ago, these islands are of great significance to Ngāi Tahu, the indigenous peoples of New Zealand’s South Island. Their natural beauty and astonishing biodiversity have now been recognised globally, but few have had the privilege to visit these far-flung shores, which are now yours to explore.

Day 7: At Sea

As Campbell Island slips over the horizon, keep watch for Campbell, Salvins and white-capped albatross, which may follow the ship to bid us farewell as travelers continue south.  

Join your expedition team in the lecture room to hear about the fascinating human history of Macquarie Island, and how to identify the unique and charismatic creatures you hope to see in the coming days.

Day 8-9: Macquarie Island

“Penguins were in thousands on the uprising cliffs, and from rookeries near and far came an incessant din . . . seabirds of many varieties gave warning near approach to their nests” Douglas Mawson, 1911.

As they sailed towards Antarctica, Mawson and his men encountered ‘an exquisite scene’. Macquarie Island (known affectionately as Macca) rises steeply from the Southern Ocean in a series of emerald summits: a beautifully fierce, elemental landscape teeming with life.

Keep your binoculars handy because this subantarctic refuge is home to 3.5 million breeding seabirds, including no less than four species of penguin! Alongside boisterous colonies of tuxedoed kings, charming gentoos, robust rockhoppers and endemic royal penguins, you’ll find three types of fur seals and a large proportion of the world’s elephant seals. Layer up and head out on deck to experience the sound, sight (and smell!) as you approach one of the largest concentrations of life in the Southern Ocean.    

Remember to keep an eye out for Macca’s kelp forests—these remarkable underwater ecosystems are quite mesmerising as their fronds sway back and forth on the water’s surface.

In addition to being a globally recognised and protected wildlife refuge, Macquarie Island played an important role in Antarctic history. It was here, in 1911, that five men disembarked Mawson’s Aurora and established a radio relay station which would transmit the first communication from Antarctica to the outside world.

Day 10-12: At Sea

As Macquarie Island slips over the horizon, keep watch for wandering, grey-headed, black-browed and light-mantled albatross, which may follow the ship to bid you farewell as you continue south.  

Close observers may notice a subtle change in the character of the sea as travelers cross the Antarctic Convergence. Beyond this belt where the waters of the north and south mix, the sea surface temperature drops by about 4°C (39°F), signalling entry into the Antarctic. This transition zone is known for its nutrient-rich waters, so keep watch for porpoising penguins, flocks of fluttering Antarctic petrels, or perhaps the more solitary snow petrel. You’re not far from the Antarctic Circle, so your first iceberg can’t be far away! 

Sea days are a great opportunity for some R & R as you digest your subantarctic experiences and prepare for the next phase of your voyage. Relax and unwind your way, perhaps meeting newfound friends at the bar, treating yourself to a sauna, or editing some images in the comfort of your cabin. And join your expedition team in the lecture room for presentations on the charismatic wildlife and extraordinary adventures that took place along the epic Antarctic coastline you are about to experience.

Day 13-18: Ross Sea

It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in this storied, ice-bound sector of Antarctica. Stepping outside and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience to cherish forever.

The Ross Sea region is a globally significant wildlife sanctuary. Its nutrient-rich waters support an astonishing array of uniquely adapted Antarctic species, including Ross Sea orcas, Antarctic petrels and South Pacific Weddell seals. It is also home to Antarctica’s largest Adélie penguin colony, and many of the largest emperor penguin colonies. The unique biodiversity of the Ross Sea has been protected within the world’s largest marine protected area since 2016.

The human heritage of the Ross Sea coast is equally impressive. Since James Clark Ross discovered the region in 1841, countless expeditions have built base camps on scattered ice-free slivers of land, using them as staging posts for bold forays across the polar plateau. Many of them departed in a hurry, leaving artefacts, scientific equipment and sometimes entire huts behind. Today these sites are preserved as open-air museums and protected under the Antarctic Treaty System.

Embrace the spirit of exploration as your expedition team designs your voyage from day to day, bringing decades of experience to selecting the ideal sites based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

Day 19-26: Expedition Cruising

As you reach the halfway mark of your voyage, these days at sea offer time and space to reflect on the emotions and special moments you’ve experienced so far. You may like to make some notes in a journal, reminisce with newfound friends at the bar or start editing a backlog of amazing photos.  

For the next week, find your rhythm and settle into life at sea. Your expedition team will offer a daily program of educational activities, entertainment and citizen science programs, which you are welcome to attend. Join them for lectures and daily recaps of your progress, weather and trajectory. Take advantage of the many shared spaces on board: relax in the sauna, work out in the gym or grab a cuppa and peruse the library shelves as the ice shelves guarding the West Antarctic coast slide by.  

There is plenty of time to enjoy the magic of the Southern Ocean and the life that calls it home - especially as you gain a day by crossing the international date line! As always, the best place on the ship is out on deck, where Antarctic prions, snow petrels and great whales await - as long as the seas permit! 

As you skirt the forbidding ice cliffs guarding the Antarctic ice sheet, spare a thought for British explorer James Cook, whose historic circumnavigation of Antarctica in the late 18th century encountered nothing but treacherous ‘ice islands’ and perilous winds that threatened to blow their wooden sailboat into the sea ice. Cook left the region firm in the belief that no Antarctic continent could exist, and if it did it “that the world will derive no benefit from it”. The search for Antarctica, which had been going for hundreds of years, ground to a halt, only resuming when a merchant sailor named William Smith chanced upon the South Shetland Islands in 1819. This discovery sparked visits from the sealers, whalers and scientists who would define the earliest eras of Antarctic exploration.  

Your voyage continues west past the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas, towards the southern extremity of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Day 27-31: Antarctic Peninsula

While on the Peninsula travelers generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. Rug up and join a Zodiac cruise to view spectacular ice cliffs or explore grounded icebergs, keeping an eye out for whales, seals and penguins, which frequently travel and feed in these waters. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic sites and explore some favourite spots along the Peninsula.  

While ashore travelers aim to stretch legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you will have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, travelers may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to marvel at sculptural icebergs and photograph spectacular scenery. This is a great time to enjoy panoramic views from the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge (open at the Captain’s discretion) for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they break off, calving into the sea. Take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.

Day 32-33: At Sea

The South Shetland Islands is a volcanic island group around a day’s sail from the Antarctic Peninsula. Aim to land or Zodiac cruise at one of the many appealing coves, bays and beaches, with the opportunity to see chinstrap and gentoo penguin colonies, fur and elephant seals, and the historic remnants of the sealing and whaling age.

In the afternoon, begin your transit north across the Drake Passage.

As your journey draws to a close, take some time to reflect on the experiences of the past few weeks. Perhaps you’d like to organise your photos, jot some more notes in your journal or simply relax and soak up the ambiance on board as you farewell your travel mates . . . until next time!

The team hope you become ambassadors for the great Southern Ocean, advocating for its conservation and preservation, and share your experiences with your loved ones, so they might visit and become ambassadors themselves.

Day 34: Ushuaia | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
During the early morning, cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where travelers will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as you all continue your onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature.  

Upon disembarkation, for those continuing their travels in the region, transportation to the hotel will be arranged exclusively for guests who have booked their accommodations through Aurora or for those staying in downtown areas near the port. Expeditioners departing on flights prior to 12:30 pm will be directly transferred to Ushuaia Airport, those with flights after 12:30 pm will have the opportunity to explore Ushuaia before an afternoon airport transfer, and the transfer procedures and details will be communicated onboard before disembarkation.     

Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, it is not recommended booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays. 

Ship/Hotel

Douglas Mawson

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$42,495 2-3 travelers
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Aurora Stateroom Single
Cabin size: 9.85m2 (106ft2) There are two Aurora Stateroom Single cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms.
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Aurora Stateroom Superior Single
Deck 3 Cabin size: 15.18m2 (163.4ft2) Deck 7 Cabin size: 10.97m2 (118.1ft2 ) There are four Aurora Stateroom Superior Single cabins featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Decks 3 & 7.
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Aurora Stateroom Triple
Cabin size: 22.57m2 (242.9ft2) There are two Aurora Stateroom Triple cabins featuring portholes, both with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms.
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Aurora Stateroom Twin
Cabin size: 15.37m² - 15.97m² (165.4ft² - 171.9ft²) The Douglas Mawson features two Aurora Stateroom Twin cabins featuring windows, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action.
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Aurora Stateroom Superior
Cabin size: 13.97m2 - 16.17m2 (150.4ft2 - 174.1ft2) With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Aurora Stateroom Superior are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. Located on Deck 7, the Staterooms feature french balconies, floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area.
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Balcony Stateroom Category C
Cabin & balcony combined size: 21.07m2 - 26.77m2 (226.8ft² - 288.2ft2) There are three cabin categories of the Balcony Staterooms. These are classified as A, B or C depending on the cabin size.
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Balcony Stateroom Category B
Cabin & balcony combined size: 21.07m2 - 26.77m2 (226.8ft² - 288.2ft2) There are three cabin categories of the Balcony Staterooms. These are classified as A, B or C depending on the cabin size.
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Balcony Stateroom Category A
Cabin & balcony combined size: 21.07m2 - 26.77m2 (226.8ft² - 288.2ft2) There are three cabin categories of the Balcony Staterooms. These are classified as A, B or C depending on the cabin size.
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Balcony Stateroom Superior
Cabin & balcony combined size: 27.77m2 - 36.27m2 (298.9ft2 - 390.4ft2) With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Balcony Stateroom Superior cabins are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear.
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Junior Suite
Cabin & balcony combined size: Up to 41.47m2 - 41.87m2 (446.4ft2 - 450.7ft2) The four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
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Captain’s Suite
Cabin & balcony combined size: 45.22m2 (486.7ft2) The largest of all our rooms, the singular Captain's Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite, you'll need to get in early to secure this suite.
Included
  • 33 Breakfasts, 32 Lunches, 33 Dinners
  • 33 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Beer, House Wine, and Soft Drinks with Dinner 
  • Educational Lectures and Guiding Services from Expedition Team 
  • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
  • Port Surcharges, Permits, and Landing Fees
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of Muck boots during the voyage
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Passport and Applicable Visa Expenses
  • Airport Departure Tax - Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • Reciprocity and Vaccination Charges
  • Passengers traveling with Aurora Expeditions are required to be covered by a reputable travel insurance policy that includes baggage loss, cancellation & curtailment of the holiday, medical, accident, and repatriation/emergency evacuation coverage worth at least $250,000 USD.

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